Sea Otter: Old School and Retro Bikes at the Otter

by 13

The yearly Sea Otter is where the cycling world unveils the new and the nearly-new (and the not-quite-yet too) but there were several exhibits that were, or recalled, the past of our sport. And it’s not just bikes – there were some of the original characters of the sport, from the ever-present characters of Gary Fisher, Tom Ritchey, Joe Murray, Scot Nicol and Joe Breeze walking the paddock, to the re-emergence of Chris Chance, there were plenty of chances to see some legends.

So, join us as we take in some of the sights…


Like, totally crucial, dude! This fella was jiving on the Fox Racing Shox booth, giving out love and high-fives.
The original fat bike

Even the most retro of us, couldn’t remember this one


No laughing, junior, this was state of the art! Look at those Mag 21s! And the bar ends.


Another idea that seemed to make amazing sense at the time. The Marin Ti FRS


We can still spot a Ground Control tyre at 30 paces


Gary Fisher was looking dapper as ever, while recording for the Spokesmen podcast with Chipps.


Chris Chance has been away for a decade, but he’s decidedly back.


Sid to Sid. Even when inflated, the ’98 SID only had 63mm travel, half of the modern one.


Likewise the original RS-1. 52mm compared to 100mm of the modern upsidedown RS-1.


Keith Bontrager developed the original crown for Paul Turner’s fork. Love those decals!


Some folks here will be drooling at this immaculate Yeti Ultimate. Ooh, those stays. Nurse!


And a carbon Trimble from 1993. Just wow!


Magura cycling is 40 years old, so it bought a ’75 Cadillac with original interior.
Cyclocross isn’t all carbon frames and Di2 you know. This was being ridden around.


Aero stormtooper look from this bang up to date Kask helmet. For what, we don’t know.
Half BMX, half riot Police…



Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (13)

    I miss bar ends. There, I said it.

    The diameter of handlebar ends hasn’t changed, you can still rock them if you want. No one’s stopping you. 🙂

    Some great stuff in there. Seems like yesterday!

    I still have 63mm SIDs on one bike.

    Not liking the fake Tioga Disk Drive spoke covers on the Trimble. 🙁

    Do they serve Lamb Bhunas from that car?

    Fake spoke covers, tthew?
    No one’s mentioned the ice-spiked Porcupines though 🙂

    “Fake spoke covers, tthew?”
    I can see a gap between the disk and the rim, and what look like metal spokes. If I’m wrong, what I meant to say was,
    Liking the Tioga Disk Drive wheel on the Trimble! 🙂

    Back in the day my LBS had an alloy Marin FRS, making me feel old chaps 😉

    Nothing rusts out there!

    “I can see a gap between the disk and the rim, and what look like metal spokes.” The Kevlar elements all attached to metal circles with stub spokes sticking out of them, that was how they were attached to the rim, tensioned and trued.

Leave a Reply